What is an Internal Audit
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I am often asked this question and I always use the shorthand answer "A check
to see that you do what you say". This sounds simple, and so it is, if carried
The first requirement is that the person(s) carrying out the audit actually
know what they are doing. The various standards specify that persons carrying
out audits must have received training are competent to do so. This normally
requires attendance at a recognised course of training which is based on the
quality/environmental standard ISO19011:2002. Our own course fills this
requirement and is normally held twice a year in Spring and Autumn.
The routine of the audit starts with notification to your organisation that
an audit is to be carried out and on what date. It makes good sense to give at
least a months notice to ensure the people you need to audit are available.
The first part of the audit is to carry out a document review to see if the
quality/environmental manual exists and covers the requirements of the
standards. Once this is successful you can then concentrate on the company
The audit proper starts with an opening meeting where you can prepare the
organisation for the audit and explain how this is going to proceed. It is an
essential part of the audit and sets the scene for the work.
An audit checklist helps to keep the auditor on track and prevents things
The audit of the organisation processes looks at the process and compares it
with the actual work being carried out. They should be the same. Look for
evidence that this is so.
Any non-conformities should be recorded and any actions proposed by the
Non-conformities are classified as Major or Minor; Major nonconformty is one
where a whole part or a significant part of a process is missing or not being
followed. Minor nonconformities occur where someone has slipped up or something
which is usually compliant has been missed.
Once the process audit has been completed a closing meeting is held to
discuss the findings of the audit.
And finally an audit report is produced.
Sound straight forward, but I am constantly amazed at the standard of
auditing, particularly by untrained auditors, who usually have no idea that the
effort they have expended has little or no value.
Answer: Train the auditor and get the auditor to carry out frequent audits
to hone their skills.
........................................Simples (as the advert says).
About the Author
Chris Eden FIBC, MISSA, ACQI is a director of Quality Matters Limited an established independent management consultancy based in Essex, UK which specialises in ISO19011 Internal Auditor Training courses .
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-07-27 11:47:52 in Business Articles